My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Archive for August, 2009

Louisiana GOP Hopes To Take Drastic Measures To Prevent The Loss Of A Congressional Seat

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Here’s the scoop from the New Orleans Times-Picayune (click HERE for complete article):

BATON ROUGE — The chairman of the state Republican Party said Saturday the state party is looking at ways to prevent “illegal aliens” from being counted in the 2010 federal census. The goal is to preserve a congressional seat for Louisiana, he said.

Roger Villere of Metairie told the Republican State Central Committee, the party’s governing board, that if illegal immigrants are counted in the census, Louisiana likely will see its congressional delegation drop from seven to six House members. House seats are apportioned based on each state’s population in the census.

Villere said states such as Texas and California would pick up representation in Congress because of the large number of immigrants living in them. Federal policy is to count all residents, regardless of their legal status, at the time the census is taken.

“If they do not count the illegal aliens, we would not lose a seat” despite population declines caused by recent hurricanes, Villere said.

“We feel like we need to protect our sovereignty,” he said. “If we take the illegals out of the mix, we could retain one of our congressmen. … We are investigating our options. This is something we are seriously looking at.”

Villere said a decision will be made by year’s end on whether to file a lawsuit or lobby the administration and Congress for a policy change to exclude illegal immigrants. He said he has been in discussions with “people of national stature” on the matter but refused to name them.

“It is not a Republican problem,” he said after the committee’s quarterly meeting. “It is a Louisiana problem.”

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, estimated that 8 million illegal immigrants living in the country are now getting health care paid for by taxpayers.

During the meeting, committee members rejected a plan to hold a nominating convention in Lafayette, Baton Rouge or New Orleans next year to rally the party around one candidate each for a U.S. Senate race and the seven congressional seats.

A convention would energize and unify the party while drawing media attention, according to main proponent Mike Chittom of Baton Rouge.

Cali Gets Boo$t From Endowment

Friday, August 28th, 2009

California’s task of counting all of its citizens just became a wee bit easier. Thanks to the California Endowment, an additional $4 million has been added to the pot of the deficit-stricken state:

LOS ANGELES – (Business Wire) To ensure that every Californian is counted in the 2010 U.S. Census, the state’s largest, private health foundation today announced that it will make $4 million in grants towards a statewide campaign that will promote the importance of participating in the Census, particularly in the large number of “hard to count” communities throughout the state.

“Hard to count” populations are among California’s most vulnerable residents – low-income communities and communities of color.

The federal government makes funding allocations based on population counts from the Census, and for every resident not counted, the state will lose an estimated $11,500 in federal funding over the course of 10 years according to 2009 data from the Brookings Institution.

“At a time when the state is facing declining revenues, it is critical to the people of California that we ensure every resident is counted so we don’t lose out on federal funding essential to the health and well-being of all Californians,” said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of The California Endowment.

“If 10 percent of California’s population of 37 million is not counted, the state stands to lose $42.4 billion in federal funding over the next decade,” Ross added.

About one-third of that funding is directly tied to health services, while all of the funding is tied to individual and family well-being which, in turn, is a significant component of health status.

California is home to 10 of the 50 counties in the nation that have been identified as being the hardest to count: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Fresno, Riverside, Alameda, Sacramento, Kern and San Francisco. These counties are home to large populations that have been historically underrepresented in the Census, including immigrants, people of color, low-income communities, rural areas and those who live in multi-family housing.

Twitter Watch: Governator Hearts Census

Friday, August 28th, 2009

@Schwarzenegger has been Tweeting his brains off for many months. Now, he’s making #Census a priority…

Next Year’s Census Count Promises to Rejigger Political Map

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Here’s an interesting forecast on redistricting as a result of the 2010 Census from the Wall Street Journal (click HERE for the full piece):

By Stephanie Simon

The federal government has hired tens of thousands of temporary workers to prepare for the 2010 Census — a population count that could remake the political map even as the foreclosure crisis makes it more difficult to account for millions of dislocated Americans.

Early analysis indicates that Texas will likely be the biggest winner since the prior count a decade ago, picking up three or four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and Election Data Services Inc., a political-consulting firm. Other states poised to gain at least one seat include Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Florida and Utah.

Growth in these states is driven by factors including migration from other states, immigration and birth rates. The economic crisis has put the brakes on some of this expansion — Florida just reported its first year-over-year population decline since 1946 — but in general, Sun Belt states have grown faster than others over the past decade.

Since the number of seats in the House is capped at 435, the gains in the South and West have to be offset by losses elsewhere.

New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts and the recession-battered industrial states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania each stand to lose a House seat. So does Louisiana, where the population still hasn’t rebounded from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which displaced so many residents that census takers face a difficult task in tallying them all.

A state’s votes in the presidential Electoral College depend on the size of its congressional delegation, so the census will likely tilt the balance of power slightly, with reliably Republican “red states” gaining several votes while Democratic strongholds such as New England lose clout.

[Balance of Power chart]

The effect in Congress is less clear, said Karl Eschbach, the Texas state demographer. Texas, for instance, is solidly red when it comes to presidential elections. But Democrats have begun to make inroads in the state Legislature, buoyed by a flow of newcomers from more-liberal states such as California. So political analysts believe one or more of Texas’s new seats in Congress may well translate into a Democratic pickup.

Draftfcb Press Release

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Our friends at Draftfcb sent us the following info:

Aug 26, 2009 15:32 ET

Draftfcb Issues Call for Interested Media Properties Regarding 2010 Census Media Buy

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire – August 26, 2009) – Draftfcb announced background and further specifics today for all media properties interested in competing for a piece of the Census 2010 media buy. Draftfcb is the prime contractor for Census 2010 Integrated Communications Campaign.

All media vendors and properties have a fair opportunity to submit their company for consideration for the paid media campaign. Negotiations and commitments for the majority of the buy will not conclude until November 2009 and may continue into 2010. Any interested vendors, must submit their information at the following URL:

http://www.census.gov/procur/www/2010communications

Draftfcb and its partner agencies are looking forward to full and complete competition for this historic campaign. Interested vendors can also find details such as paid media plan summary, campaign phases and media buying timelines at the designated link.

The 2010 Census paid media campaign will be one of the broadest and far-reaching communications efforts undertaken by the U.S. Government. It will include advertising in 28 languages and will employ media such as television, radio, print and digital across the nation, Puerto Rico and U.S. Island Areas. The paid media campaign is part of an overall integrated campaign that includes partnerships, web sites, a Census in Schools program and earned media.

About Draftfcb:

Draftfcb is a modern agency model for clients seeking creative, accountable marketing programs that build business and deliver a high Return on Ideas(SM). With more than 136 years of combined expertise, the company has its roots in both consumer advertising and behavioral, data-driven direct marketing. The agency is the first global, behavior-based, holistic marketing communications organization to operate against a single P&L, and it places equal emphasis on creativity and accountability. The Draftfcb network spans 97 countries, with more than 9,600 employees worldwide, and is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). The agency’s global corporate leadership team includes Howard Draft, executive chairman; Laurence Boschetto, CEO and president; Jonathan Harries, vice chairman and worldwide chief creative officer; and Neil Miller, CFO. For more information, visit www.draftfcb.com.

News from NOLA

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Great article from the New Orleans Times Picayune (click HERE for full piece):

The changing face — and faces — of New Orleans

by Sarah Carr, The Times-Picayune

Sunday August 23, 2009, 3:00 PM

The Katrina-imposed exile of New Orleans natives and the influx of newcomers have many wondering if the city’s culture has been permanently diluted or only refreshed with new blood.

John McCusker / The Times-PicayuneNew Orleans native Timolynn Sams and newcomer Gill Benedek stand on Canal Street in New Orleans.

Growing up in Broadmoor, Timolynn Sams traversed the neighborhoods of her hometown by instinct. On bike rides to visit her cousins miles away on Tchoupitoulas Street, or on solitary walks to Hollygrove, she knew exactly which streets were safe and which houses she could stop at to use the bathroom or chat with friends.

Those days are gone. And Sams does not believe the intimate familiarity that defined the New Orleans streetscape will return any time soon.

“I think that’s something we’ve lost, ” she says. “We don’t know where our people are.”

Four years after Hurricane Katrina, encouraging new statistics suggest New Orleans has regained three-quarters of its prestorm population, defying predictions that the city would never again approach its former size.

That statistic, however, masks a subtler shift. The city is now home to a tide of newcomers unprecedented in recent history, including Hispanic day laborers, idealistic young teachers, and urban planners all drawn by the unique opportunity to help a devastated city rebuild, almost from scratch.

San Francisco vs. The U.S. Census Bureau

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

H/t to the San Francisco Chronicle:

City Hall takes on the U.S. Census — again!

Squaring off against the U.S. Census is nothing new for City Hall officials – and they’re doing it again this week over the “advanced letter” the census sends all U.S. residents explaining the census questionnaire several weeks before they get the real thing.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera wants the U.S. Census to have a heartPaul Chinn/The Chronicle

In 2000, the advanced letter was sent in a variety of languages including Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean and Tagalog. But in February, the letter will go out in English only, with Spanish versions included in some census tracts.

That means a lot of San Francisco’s 325,000 residents who speak a language other than English may not understand what to do with the census questionnaire. And that means they may skip it altogether, go uncounted and cause the city to lose out on federal money.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera and David Chiu, president of the Board of Supervisors, have sent a letter to the census asking that it reconsider its policy change. Chiu also introduced legislation at the board calling for an inclusive advanced letter.

The city has a long history of waging battles against the census. In the 1970s, Chinese residents sued over an undercount in Chinatown. In 1990, the city sued over another undercount. In 2000, the city said the census undercounted by a whopping 100,000 people – causing the San Francisco to lose out on $30 million a year in federal funds. (The census compromised, giving the city another 34,209 people.)

Sonny Le, a media specialist with the census, said nothing about the advanced letter has been finalized. We asked him numerous times why the language change had been floated in the first place, and he couldn’t give an answer, only saying it was “a combination of different things.”

How do you count the drunks on Bourbon Street? Go bar to bar.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

The following report from the Associated Press makes us wonder if we are really living in the year 2010 or 1910, as technology continues to elude us and door-to-door interaction is on the rise. Nonetheless, the MyTwoCensus team applauds the decision of Census Director Robert M. Groves to accurately count the residents of New Orleans without succumbing to the partisan interests of New Orleans’ often-controversial mayor, Ray Nagin. Nagin’s call to count former residents of New Orleans who no longer live there as current New Orleans residents is selfish and detrimental for the rest of the country. If former residents were counted as still living in New Orleans, then the municipalities where these people currently reside would not receive the proper federal funding that they deserve and need to compensate for the extra bodies.


By BECKY BOHRER (AP) – 6 hours ago

NEW ORLEANS — Census forms will be hand-delivered in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita to get the most accurate count possible following concerns that the region could lose federal representation and funding.

The measures announced by U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves on Tuesday did not go as far as those sought by Mayor Ray Nagin and some advocacy groups to locally count potentially thousands of former residents scattered across the country who are trying to come back.

By at least one estimate, 75 percent of New Orleans’ pre-Katrina population has returned in the nearly four years since the Aug. 29, 2005, storm and levee breaches. In some neighborhoods, there remain huge swaths of empty homes.

Groves said he shared Nagin’s concerns, but “the proposal to count people where they want to be is something that would really be a massive change.”

Census rules dictate people be counted “in their abodes,” as of Census Day, he said, and Congress has not changed the law to reflect situations like refugees of Katrina and other disasters, missionaries spending time overseas or noncitizens being included in the count.

“So we have to follow the law,” Groves said. “In the 2010 Census, we’ll count people where they usually live.”

Census workers in the region are expected to hand-deliver an estimated 300,000 questionnaires to homes in 11 south Louisiana parishes affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Additional hand deliveries are expected in parts of Mississippi’s Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties, also affected by the 2005 storms, and parts of Galveston Island, Texas, which was hit by Hurricane Ike last summer, said Jeff Behler, deputy regional director of the census’ Dallas office.

Census officials said 2,400 workers would be hired in the New Orleans-area office, but they could not immediately provide a total cost for hand-delivering forms. They said hand deliveries are sometimes used in very rural parts of the country and on some tribal lands.

Nagin repeated his call Tuesday to include former residents who moved away from the city and are working to come back, saying an accurate count is “essential” for the future of the region and providing needed services to displaced residents when they return.

“We’re looking forward to a good count, as high as we can possibly get it,” Nagin said.

There’s a lot at stake: the 10-year count, which starts with surveys going out in March, will help decide congressional representation and distribution of at least $400 billion a year in federal funds across the country.

Freedom Of Information Act Request Granted? Nah, Not Really

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Without sounding preachy, if there’s one underlying goal of MyTwoCensus.com, it is to bring more transparency and knowledge about the 2010 Census to the people of the United States of America. One way that we seek to accomplish this goal is by making Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain information that is not available to the public. One such investigation that produced FOIA requests related to the $200 million 2010 Census media contract with Draftfcb, GlobalHue, and other firms involved with the 2010 Census advertising and marketing efforts. We were initially thrilled last Thursday morning when we finally received copies of the information that we requested. However, all is not hunky-dory in Censusland. Out of the 132 pages that were sent to us, 60 pages contained segments that were partially or fully redacted. Thus, our ongoing analysis of this contract will not ever be as complete as it could possibly be. All of this information has been redacted under FOIA clause (b)(4):

Exemption 4

Exemption 4 of the FOIA protects “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.” (1) This exemption is intended to protect the interests of both the government and submitters of information. Its very existence encourages submitters to voluntarily furnish useful commercial or financial information to the government and it correspondingly provides the government with an assurance that such information will be reliable. The exemption also affords protection to those submitters who are required to furnish commercial or financial information to the government by safeguarding them from the competitive disadvantages that could result from disclosure. (2) The exemption covers two broad categories of information in federal agency records: (1) trade secrets; and (2) information that is (a) commercial or financial, and (b) obtained from a person, and (c) privileged or confidential.

PART1--- Outgoing Final Response 09-209 8-12-09.pdf (page 1 of 36)

Wrong Info from WSJ’s The Journal Editorial Report on FOXNews

Monday, August 17th, 2009

The below report is a transcript of The Journal Editorial Report that airs on FOXNews and is hosted by Paul Gigot…unfortunately it’s riddled with inaccuracies and fact-check errors. In particular, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund is full of crap:

Gigot: We’re a little more than six months away from the start of the 2010 census, and if you think the goal is get an accurate count of U.S. citizens, think again. Instead, the Census Bureau is set to count all people physically present in the country, including–that means large numbers who could be here illegally. That could give states with high rates of illegal immigration a big advantage when it comes to reapportioning congressional seats. One big winner, potentially: California, which stands to gain nine more seats in Congress than it would if only U.S. citizens were counted. States like Ohio, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania could be among the losers.

We’re back with Dan Henninger and John Fund, and Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley also joins the panel.

All right. John, are the–is the census set to count an awful lot of illegals as part of its count?

Fund: Yes, the Census Bureau says its job is to count everyone in the country–I assume that includes illegal aliens and tourists–and make that part of the census count.

Gigot: Tourists? They’re going to catch them at the airport?

Fund: Or the hotel. The problem is the Census Bureau, for the first time, is not going to be asking on the census form if you’re a citizen, so there’s no way of telling who they’re counting, whether they’re a citizen or not. And I think this is highly dangerous, because the Census was originally designed to count citizens and permanent residents of the United States. In the last 10 years, we’ve had a large increase in illegal immigration. There’s somewhere between 7 million and 12 million illegal aliens in this country. Adding them into the decision about which states get how many House seats really will dramatically change our politics.

Gigot: All right, Jason, do you agree with that?

Riley: No, I don’t. I think the 14th Amendment is pretty clear. It says, quote, “Count the whole number of persons in each state.” There may be residents of these states that are illegal, but they’re still residents, and according to the Constitution, John, they have to be counted. The idea that Census Bureau administrators can arbitrarily decide not to count certain people is legally dubious and probably unconstitutional.

But the second point to make, I think, is that the census is more than just about reapportioning members of Congress. It’s also going to determine federal funds, some $3 trillion in the allocation of federal funds over the next 10 years. Why should border states, who are bearing the brunt of these illegal immigrants, be punished for the federal government’s inability to take care of our illegal immigration problem?

Gigot: He has a point, Dan. I mean, Jason says, look, if the people are in the states and they have to pay for the people who are in these states for services whether they’re illegal or not, they should be allowed to have that counted because they’ll have access to the money.

Henninger: Well, you know, I think, Jason, though, what you’re suggesting is something of an abstraction. As a practical matter, the Census Bureau could–

Gigot: Money isn’t an abstraction.

Henninger: No, but counting people is real. You have to–the census goes out and takes a physical, in-place head count of the sort we were showing in the video on the screen. You don’t mean to think they’re going to go out and knock on the doors where the illegal immigrants live and they’re going to answer the door and say, “Oh, yeah, I’m be happy to fill this census form”–when they’re in hiding? So then it leads you to something we’ve talked about on this program before called statistical sampling, in which you use statistics to sort of estimate how many people are, which is what a lot of groups representing blacks, Hispanics, even Japanese, have wanted the Census Bureau to do. And they’ve resisted for years because it’s just an inaccurate account.

Riley: And the current director says he won’t do that.

Henninger: And this leads to a complete morass if you start trying to count people who are in hiding.

Fund: Paul, and the current Census Bureau director is someone who originally started this sampling process, so he’s very much in favor of it. In addition–

Gigot: But he said–wait a minute, John.

Riley: He said, on the record, that he wouldn’t do it, John.

Gigot: He has said, on the record, that he will not do it.

Fund: As far as I know, and from my sources inside the Census Department, they are preparing to use sampling techniques next year.

Gigot: John, let me ask you about the constitutional argument here. Eugene Volokh, a conservative constitutional scholar, among others, agrees with Jason and says, Look, if you’re going to change and you want to count only citizens, then you’ve got to have to have a constitutional amendment, because the 14th Amendment says what it says.

Fund: Well, what has been done in the past is you’ve had two separate numbers, one that could be used, in theory, to apportion the money that these border states, for example, have to bear costs from illegal aliens, and the other to reapportion the House districts. So I think you can do something that I think preserves the original intent of the Constitution and also takes into account the need for federal money to be allocated fairly.

Gigot: Well, but in terms of the allocation of representation, the small states are already–are overrepresented by population in the Senate, so they do get, regardless of the census count, a fairly good representation in the United States.

Fund: But the distortions are now becoming so large. If California has nine more congressmen and -women than it’s allowed normally, that’s an enormous distortion of our political process. And it’s no longer a small one we can ignore.

Riley: I doubt that nine–that California’s going to get nine more congressman, John, I think other indications show there’s been a lot of outmigration from California and Northeastern states as well.

No Change In Census Position On Missionaries: Utah Loses Again

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

UPDATE: More solid reporting on this issue is available in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Back in June I wrote, “In America’s last decennial headcount, Utah was 800 citizens short of gaining a fourth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. One major factor: Many Mormons from Utah spend time overseas as missionaries and weren’t counted in the 2000 Census.” Well, as the AP just reported, “The U.S. Census Bureau has told Utah’s elected leaders it won’t count Mormon missionaries serving overseas in the nation’s next head count.”

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Census Bureau has told Utah’s elected leaders it won’t count Mormon missionaries serving overseas in the nation’s next head count.

Census Bureau officials, rejecting Utah’s lobbying efforts for the better part of a decade, say there’s no way to reliably count the overseas missionaries.

Utah leaders say the omission cost the state an extra congressional seat in 2000, when the state fell just 857 people short of receiving the last available slot in the U.S. House.

The Census Bureau does count military and federal employees serving overseas, and Rob Bishop, R-Utah, says it should include Mormons on proselytizing missions.

“The bottom line should still be fairness and accuracy,” Bishop said. “If we are currently counting some people abroad and not others, there is just no logic to that whatsoever.”

An experiment in counting Americans abroad in 2004 turned into a “colossal failure,” said Louis Kincannon, a former Census Bureau director under President Bill Clinton. Few Americans responded to an outreach program in three sample countries — Mexico, France and Kuwait.

A government consulting firm, Election Data Services, estimates that 6 million Americans are living overseas. But federal officials say there’s no dependable way to track down citizens who move around and may not want to be found because they don’t want to pay U.S. taxes.

A review by the Government Accountability Office found that counting Americans overseas is impractical, and it suggested the Census Bureau abandon the effort. The bureau says overseas counts produce erratic results that could distort state-by-state counts.

Census officials said that if Congress wants them to count all citizens overseas, it will have to enact legislation making it a requirement.

Utah sued the Census Bureau in 2001 in an attempt to get the military count thrown out, saying it unfairly benefited North Carolina, which claimed the 435th House seat a year earlier largely because of the state’s military bases, such as the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg and the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Utah’s claims and ruled the Census Bureau enjoys wide discretion on counting.

Wall Street Journal Fact-Checking Blunder

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

The following report comes from The Rose Institute for State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College in California:

By Douglas M. Johnson, Consulting Fellow

On August 10th, the Wall Street Journal unfortunately ran a factually inaccurate op-ed piece written by John Baker and Elliott Stonecipher entitled “Our Unconstitutional Census.”

The authors wanted to discuss whether illegal immigrants should be counted in the Census and for Congressional reapportionment. As an academic with a keen (some say obsessive) interest in the Census, I was interested to read their views. I was, however, deeply disappointed when I read their piece. The op-ed lacked any basis in reality and instead was based on a dual problems of bad mathematics and ignorance of the Constitution. I am mystified by how the inaccuracies of this article escaped the Journal’s fact-checking, as even a Google search would reveal the problematic foundation of the piece.

The authors claim that “the first Census Act” defined who would count for the apportionment of Congressional seats among the states and “Because the census (since at least 1980) has not distinguished citizens and permanent, legal residents from individuals here illegally, the basis for apportionment of House seats has been skewed.”  This assertion is the basis of their headline “Unconstitutional Census.” Unfortunately for the authors, they are wrong on this point that lies at the very heart of their argument is wrong.

It is not “the first Census Act” nor Census Bureau decisions that result in what they call an “unconstitutional” count. In fact, the definition of who counts for apportionment comes directly from Section 2 of the 14th Amendment: “”Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.”

Apportionment is done based on “persons” because that is the direct wording of the Constitution. The direct wording of the Constitution, unfortunately for the authors, clearly cannot be “Unconstitutional.”

Sadly, the authors’ craving for a headline and the Journal’s fact-checking failures did not end with just that fundamental flaw. They continue: “Based on our round-number projection of a decade-end population in that state of 37,000,000 (including 5,750,000 noncitizens), California would have 57 members in the newly reapportioned U.S. House of Representatives.  However, with noncitizens not included for purposes of reapportionment, California would have 48 House seats.” This is absurd. As every study by both EDS and Polidata have shown, California will be lucky to hold on to its current 53 Congressional districts after the 2010 Census, and may drop to 52. My guess is that either the authors calculated population growth in California since 2000 and ignored growth in the rest of the country over that time period, or they lack knowledge about how the apportionment of districts is calculated (for example, they may not know that each state is guaranteed one Congressional district, and those districts must be assigned before calculations of districts per state and remainder populations are made).

There is a serious policy question to debate: should illegal immigrants be counted for the purpose of Congressional district apportionment? But the debate must acknowledge that any change to that policy requires a constitutional amendment, not a statue or Census Bureau administrative decision.

The authors of this piece argue a constitutional question without reading the Constitution, and double their error through the use of bad math. This article achieved their goal — a headline in the Journal — but it does not improve the public debate or move us any closer to agreement on the answer.

Florida’s Population On The Decline

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Check out the following piece from the St. Petersburg Times (Click HERE for full version):

Florida’s Population Shed About 50,000 Residents

By JAMES THORNER
St. Petersburg Times

Published: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 7:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 7:36 p.m.

The growth state is officially shrinking.

Hit by a double-whammy of the housing crash and the recession, Florida has lost population for the first time since the demobilization of hundreds of thousands of soldiers after World War II.

University of Florida demographers will report today that the state shed about 50,000 residents between April 2008 and April 2009. That should knock the number of Floridians down a notch from the previously reported 18.3 million.

It’s the first time since 1946 that Florida has been a net population loser. Even during the Great Depression, new residents swept into the state in search of work and leisure. But the severe housing contraction, combined with the sputtering of Florida’s job creation machine, has eclipsed the state’s former gravitational pull.

Rebuttal To WSJ Op-Ed

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Two days ago, we posted an op-ed that was published in the Wall Street Journal that called the 2010 Census unconstitutional. Well, Myrna Perez of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law shot back with the following piece:

Accounting for the Census Clause

In the inaccurately titled opinion piece (“Our Unconstitutional Census“) published on August 9 in the Wall Street Journal, Messrs. Baker and Stonecipher, a constitutional law professor and pollster respectively, falsely claim that the current practice of counting undocumented persons in the census for the purpose of apportionment is unconstitutional.

The “Census clause” or sometimes called the “Enumeration clause” is found in Article I, 1, § 2, cl. 3 of Constitution.  After taking into account the removal and additions that have occurred with later amendments, that clause reads as follows:  “Representatives . . . shall be apportioned among the several States . . . according to their respective Numbers . . . . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”  Further, Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment states that “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”

The Constitution uses the word “numbers” or “persons” — not “citizens,” or “legal residents,” or “those lawfully present” as the authors suggest.  Moreover, the Constitution wholly and explicitly empowers Congress to sort out the details.  The express delegation of the responsibility to Congress makes it odd that part of their opinion piece casts Congress fulfilling its constitutional obligations to make the policy determinations guiding the census as a bad thing.

In a move that is sure to irk “strict constructionists” the authors ignore the plain text of the Constitution and cite enabling legislation for support, arguing that the name of first census act used the word “inhabitant” and that the contemporaneous definition of that word were persons entitled to the privileges conferred by the state, which would exclude unlawful residents.  The word “inhabitant,” is not used in the Constitution’s Census clause, but is instead used when describing qualifications of Representatives and Senators.  In the Qualification clauses, the word “inhabitant” probably fairly means what the authors say it means.  But, it is improper for the authors to import a word from other sections of the Constitution into a clause where the framers deliberate and purposely omitted that word and claim that the word is controlling.

Even if Congressional understanding of the Constitution trumps its plain text, the first census act actually suggests reaching a contrary conclusion because that act counted slaves and non-white free persons.  It required the district marshals to swear or affirm an oath that they would undertake a “just and perfect enumeration and description of all persons resident within my district.”  Those facts mean that Congress at least had a more expansive view of “inhabitants” than the authors would allow, and as the Constitution indicates, Congress gets to make the call as to the details.

The authors invoke the Wesberry v. Sanders principle that there should be rough equivalents of voting citizens in state legislative districts.  Justice Rehnquist, however, in an opinion in the mid-90s rejected the application of the Wesberry principle to Congress when conducting the census.  He also noted that the Court had reached the same conclusion on two prior occasions because of the latitude given to Congress under the Constitution and because the districts at issue in Wesberry were intra-state, but federal apportionment required interstate review which could not be done with the same precision.  Even the Supreme Court disagrees with the authors.

There are good policy reasons for including all residents in a state when conducting apportionment.  A district’s representation affects everyone in the district; moreover a district’s representation is impacted by everyone in the district.

The authors may disagree that apportionments should be influenced by enumerations of undocumented persons, but it is false that the current practice of doing so is unconstitutional.

Our Unconstitutional Census

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Here is an excerpt from a very interesting op-ed that was published in today’s Wall Street Journal (For the entire article, CLICK HERE):

California could get nine House seats it doesn’t deserve because illegal aliens will be counted in 2010.

By JOHN S. BAKER AND ELLIOTT STONECIPHER

Mr. Baker teaches constitutional law at Louisiana State University. Mr. Stonecipher is a Louisiana pollster and demographic analyst.

Next year’s census will determine the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state. To accomplish these vital constitutional purposes, the enumeration should count only citizens and persons who are legal, permanent residents. But it won’t.

Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country—including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of “loser” states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on.

In 1790, the first Census Act provided that the enumeration of that year would count “inhabitants” and “distinguish” various subgroups by age, sex, status as free persons, etc. Inhabitant was a term with a well-defined meaning that encompassed, as the Oxford English Dictionary expressed it, one who “is a bona fide member of a State, subject to all the requisitions of its laws, and entitled to all the privileges which they confer.”

Thus early census questionnaires generally asked a question that got at the issue of citizenship or permanent resident status, e.g., “what state or foreign country were you born in?” or whether an individual who said he was foreign-born was naturalized. Over the years, however, Congress and the Census Bureau have added inquiries that have little or nothing to do with census’s constitutional purpose.

By 1980 there were two census forms. The shorter form went to every person physically present in the country and was used to establish congressional apportionment. It had no question pertaining to an individual’s citizenship or legal status as a resident. The longer form gathered various kinds of socioeconomic information including citizenship status, but it went only to a sample of U.S. households. That pattern was repeated for the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

The 2010 census will use only the short form. The long form has been replaced by the Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey. Dr. Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Immigration Statistics Staff, told us in a recent interview that the 2010 census short form does not ask about citizenship because “Congress has not asked us to do that.”

Because the census (since at least 1980) has not distinguished citizens and permanent, legal residents from individuals here illegally, the basis for apportionment of House seats has been skewed. According to the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey data (2007), states with a significant net gain in population by inclusion of noncitizens include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas. (There are tiny net gains for Hawaii and Massachusetts.)

This makes a real difference. Here’s why:

According to the latest American Community Survey, California has 5,622,422 noncitizens in its population of 36,264,467. Based on our round-number projection of a decade-end population in that state of 37,000,000 (including 5,750,000 noncitizens), California would have 57 members in the newly reapportioned U.S. House of Representatives.

However, with noncitizens not included for purposes of reapportionment, California would have 48 House seats (based on an estimated 308 million total population in 2010 with 283 million citizens, or 650,000 citizens per House seat). Using a similar projection, Texas would have 38 House members with noncitizens included. With only citizens counted, it would be entitled to 34 members.

Is ACORN recruiting for the 2010 Census? The GOP thinks so!

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The GOP wants some questions answered from the man at the top, Robert M. Groves:

McHenry: Is ACORN recruiting census workers or not?
Internal documents at odds with Bureau’s claims to Congress

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry, Ranking Member on the Census Oversight Subcommittee sent a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau concerning its partnership with ACORN.

While the Bureau has reported to Congress that ACORN is not recruiting census workers, internal documents contradict this claim.

Assuming the Bureau can reconcile these contradictions and verify that ACORN has been instructed not to recruit census workers, Congressman McHenry asked, “If ACORN has been singled out in such a manner because of its long criminal history, it begs the question, why are they a national partner in the first place?  If they cannot be trusted to recruit enumerators, it would seem to me that ACORN should be disqualified as a partner altogether.”

Dr. Robert M. Groves
Director
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746

Dear Dr. Groves:

On July 10, 2009, Acting Director Thomas Mesenbourg wrote a letter to Congress clarifying the partnership role of the political advocacy group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.  Mr. Mesenbourg stated definitively that ACORN “will not be involved in recruiting or hiring census employees.”[1] However, information has come to my attention that requires further clarification from the Bureau.

Documents from the Bureau obtained by Judicial Watch contradict Mr. Mesenbourg’s letter to Congress.  One such document details the organization’s partnership responsibilities, including “Identify job candidates and/or distribute and display recruiting materials.”  Bearing his signature from February 12, 2009, this form indicates that Mr. Mesenbourg approved ACORN’s role as a recruiter of census enumerators.[2]

Furthermore, promotional materials for the national partnership program indicate very clearly that partners will play a role in recruiting enumerators.[3]

A) How do you reconcile this evidence with Mr. Mesenbourg’s letter to Congress?

B) If ACORN has been instructed specifically not to recruit enumerators, please provide
the dated correspondence between the Bureau and ACORN that verifies this.

C) Additionally, please provide a list of other national partners that have been instructed
not to recruit enumerators.

D) If ACORN has been singled out in such a manner because of its long criminal history,
it begs the question, why are they a national partner in the first place?  If they cannot
be trusted to recruit enumerators, it would seem to me that ACORN should be
disqualified as a partner altogether.

In a document provided to Congress, the Bureau states that partnering organizations would be disqualified if they “could distract from the Census Bureau’s mission.”[4] An internal document from the Bureau states that groups will be disqualified if they “might make people fearful of participating in the Census.”[5]

E) How does the criminal background of ACORN reflect positively on the Census
Bureau’s mission?

F) As a criminal enterprise, how could ACORN in no way distract from the Bureau’s
mission?

Please submit written responses to the questions above to the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives by August 24, 2009.  Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please contact Alexis Rudakewych at (202) 225-2576.

Sincerely,

Patrick T. McHenry
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Information Policy,
Census, and National Archives

[1]  See Bureau letter to Mr. McHenry (July 20, 2009)
[2]  See Bureau partnership form (February 12, 2009)
[3]  See Bureau Form D-3207, Become a 2010 Census Partner, (April 2008)
[4]  See 2010 Census Partnership Program, Partner Selection Process and Guidelines, page 2
[5]  See Email, Barbara A. Harris, (March 17, 2009)

Statistics=Sexy

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

At this moment, the #1 most e-mailed New York Times article is called “For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics.” To all of the statisticians out there, this one’s for you.

Latino Group Gives Kudos To Steve Jost and Robert M. Groves

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

The following comes to us from the National Institute for Latino Policy’s Latino Census eNewsletter. After some major communications debacles, the new leadership of the Census Bureau appears to be doing a better job at reaching out to minorities:

Note: In the May issue of the Latino Census eNewsletter we reported that the Census Bureau’s advisory body, the Joint Advertising Advisory Review Panel (JAARP), had given the main contractor on the Bureau’s $200 million media program, DraftFCB, a “vote of no confidence” in their handling of this important contract.

Earlier this week, the Census Bureau convened meetings of two of its major advisory committees, the 2010 Census Advisory Committee and the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committee (REAC) to review this communications plan and other preparations for the 2010 Census. As a member of the Census Advisory Committee on the Hispanic Population, I attended Monday’s REAC meeting.

The presentations by the new Census Director, Robert Groves, and the relatively new Director of Communications, Steven Jost, at this meeting effectively restored confidence in the direction of the planning of the media strategy and overall in the new team that was at place now at the Census Bureau. At yesterday’s meeting of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee, Dr. Bernie Millier, Chair of the African-American Committee, read the following statement on behalf of the JAARP in which he states that, “. . . the majority of the REAC chairs and JAARP, no longer have a vote of no confidence in DraftFcb, C2PO and Census.”

The advisory committees and other stakeholders feel that the Census Bureau has heeded their advice and refocused their efforts in more effective ways. Much still needs to be done and tweaked, but there is a general feeling that we are all on the right track.

Angelo Falcón
Chair, Latino Census Network


JAARP STATEMENT OF CONFIDENCE
(Read into the record at the July 21 CAC meeting by Dr. Bernie Miller)
Composed by JAARP members Terri Ao and Dr. Bernie Miller

In April this year, the JAARP members recommended a vote of no confidence in DraftFcb’s ad campaign. In our June meeting, however, we saw significant improvements. The subcontractors and C2PO should be commended for their efforts to reconcile our differences and address our concerns.

The majority of the JAARP and REAC chairs would like to state that we are pleased with the efforts to address our concerns and believe the subcontractors and the bureau are moving in the right direction.

We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve a satisfactory end product. To that end, we, the majority of the REAC chairs and JAARP, no longer have a vote of no confidence in DraftFcb, C2PO and Census.

We realize that our roles are that of advisors. Advisors by definition, give advice, caution, warn, recommend and give information. Judging from the comments made by Dr. Groves at our July 20, REAC meeting, we feel that our advice will receive a higher lever of consideration.

Therefore, we look forward with eager anticipatory expectation, in seeing how the new director, Robert Groves, C2PO, DraftFcb and their subcontractors will address our lingering concerns. Two of them being; 1) will there be adequate funding for all hard to count ethnic groups; And 2) will the ads properly address the fears of all  groups, which is the issue of the privacy and confidentiality?

In closing, it is clear we all want the same outcome, and that is, the most accurate count possible. So, “It’s in your hands!”

Michele Bachmann Doesn’t Slow Down Her Census Protests

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Michele Bachmann, the darling of Minnesota, is at it again.

We’re making progress in our effort to obtain contract information about DraftFCB, Globalhue, etc.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Outgoing Extension Response 09-209 8-5-09.pdf (1 page)